Four returns: ‘Flower-picking’ and other stories
Just over a week ago we saw a friend who left Lebanon last summer, but had returned for a flying visit. The first time we met was on an organised walking tour on my very first weekend in Beirut and we fast became friends, especially his wife and I, who kept each other company (and kept each other’s spirits up) on our own un-organised walking tours of the city and beyond, interspersed with brunches on balconies and teas on terraces, with soups in winter and sparkling water in summer, and on a perpetual search for the perfect espresso and fresh lemonade and for somewhere to stop for nappy-changing and naps.
She couldn’t make it on this return trip to Lebanon, but she was with us in spirit and I know she would have enjoyed the wine-tasting event where we decided to catch up with her husband. In particular, the wine I fell in love with, or rather, the story behind it. Apparently instead of using pesticides they plant huge red flowers in between the vines to distract the insects, then they send in geese to pluck the pests off the petals- ‘flower-picking’ so to speak. Every time I took a sip I imagined this scene and it made the wine somehow more appealing, or ‘complex’ as perhaps a connoisseur would say!
We went home with a bottle of it and, in honour of my old friend, the telephone number of a new one in need of somebody to show her the city, to share a walk along its shore and a pause in a place where the espresso is good, the summer lemonade and the winter soup (served in glasses) are even better and the memories are best of all.